Located in the bend of the Red River in northeast Montague County, Illinois Bend received an official title in 1877. By the 1890's, Illinois Bend was a thriving community where cotton farming swelled the population. Many churches and schools were conducted in private homes prior to 1845 when the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas set aside provisions to aid local lodges in erecting educational buildings. In January 1893, a Masonic building for fraternal, educational and spiritual purposes was erected here. During the week, the lower level was used as a one room school and a church on Sundays. The original name of the school district was Valley Branch School District No. 14 due to the location near the branch which feeds into the Red River. Over time, it became known as Illinois Bend School District No. 14.Marker is property of the State of Texas (2014)
All age levels were taught in the same room and the first teacher was W.O. Edwards. There was no electricity or plumbing i the school until 1945 so outhouses were erected behind the building. The lower portion of the building was also the social center of the community, hosting reunion, wedding receptions and other group activities. With the onset of WWII, the school closed in 1944. Church services in the lower level ceased in the 1920s with the establishment of local churches. In 1968, the building was no longer used on a regular basis; however, an Illinois Bend Community Homecoming was held each fall and continues today. The building was refurbished by the Illinois Bend Community Club in 1987 and is a remnant of the community partnerships formed with the help of the Masonic Lodge.